How soon can I apply for permanent resident status in the U.S. after my asylum application has been granted?

You are not required to apply for permanent resident status after being granted asylum. However, if you would like to change your status, you can do so one year after you have been granted asylum. You must also meet the basic requirements for obtaining a green card as an asylee: You must continue to qualify for refugee status, if the political climate has changed in your native country, you may no longer be classified as a refugee; You cannot have abandoned your status as a refugee, for example, if you return to your native country after being granted asylum, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may see the return as an abandonment of your status in that you are no longer in fear of persecution; You must live in the United States for one year, you cannot have resettled in another country as entering and leaving the U.S. will not qualify as living in the U.S. (If you have established residency and have been living in another country you will not be considered as "living in the United States" for one year); You are generally admissible as an immigrant into the United States; Or, you must be the spouse or child of a person who meets the above qualifications.

Applying for Permanent Residency Status

As an asylee, you can apply for permanent residency status through Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status form. Depending on your situation, you will be required to attach various supporting documents to your application. Any documents that you submit in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation. You will also be required to submit an application and fingerprint fee. After your application is filed, you must attend an appointment to be fingerprinted and photographed. 

Get Your Green Card Before You Lose Your Status as a Refugee

The time frame to receive a final decision varies from applicant to applicant. Even though there is not a specific time-frame on how long you have to file, the sooner you begin the process, the better. If at any time you no longer qualify as a refugee, you will not be able to obtain a green card as an asylee. Essentially, your deadline for obtaining permanent resident status after the granting of asylum is before you lose your status as a refugee. For more information regarding the process, the INS has information on its website.

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